An attempt by Greece to shift the country’s debt narrative away from austerity ran into a wall of inflexibility during a two-day trip to Germany. German officials here on Thursday, like European Central Bank officials the day before in Frankfurt, offered no sign that they considered the recent change of government in Greece to be an opportunity for a fresh start.

As the world's second largest economy, the fastest growing economy in the G20 and with more than a trillion dollars sitting in various sovereign wealth funds, China has quite a bit of cash to invest. And as the chart below shows, in recent years it has begun loosening the purse strings - in 2005, the Chinese government and Chinese companies collectively invested about $17bn (£11bn) in global assets, according The Heritage Foundation. Last year they invested almost $130bn.

September 19, 2013

This time next year, the question of Scottish independence will be decided. New research published by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, presented in Edinburgh this week (and not yet online), talks about Scottish currency. Not terribly glamorous, but rather important. And there is bad news for Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Brand strategist Peter Economides knows about taking brands at their lowest ebb and turning them into world-beaters. He was part of the team that helped create Apple’s “Think Different” campaign in 1997. ....Economides believes that Greece is at the point where an inspired and properly managed rebranding campaign could turn it into the “Apple of the Mediterranean.”

While Beijing’s mission to the E.U. in Brussels rarely used to engage with the diplomatic community and issue statements on China’s core interests, she said, its soft-power strategy in the region is winning over some of Europe's political elites.

September 17, 2011

China has talked a great deal about using its currency reserves to project “soft power,” but when it comes to pulling the trigger, it has been extremely cautious about putting its money anywhere besides the safest and most liquid instruments. ... but there’s little evidence that China has actually weighed into these markets in any sizable way.

Food aid to hungry countries, training for political parties in young democracies, improved medical services for expectant mothers and the U.S. response to natural disasters such as earthquakes and droughts could be hit in a major scale-back of U.S. assistance.

In these times, it's apt to project a Chinese global narrative through increasingly sophisticated media, and while China is promoting Mandarin in more than 300 Confucius Institutes all over the world, it is also increasingly attracting more foreign students to its universities.